Colic most commonly occurs with newborns within their first 6 weeks and normally resolves itself by the time they’re 6 months old. Defined as episodes of consistent crying for more than three hours in a given day (refer to the 3 rule), there is still some debate as to whether Colic actually exists. However, if you’ve ever been dealt with a colicky baby and served a six month, sleepless sentence, you know there’s nothing mythical about this beast!
We’re currently on the second rotation of the windy baby carousel! With Baby number one a combination of tongue tie and a very nervous/stressed out first time mumma (that’s me), meant that Theon found it hard to latch on from the get go. This time round with Penny, everything started off fine, but an unfortunate bout of viral meningitis knocked our house for six with both Theon and Penny falling ill with the nasty tummy bug and having to go on antibiotics, which left her tummy and its new system all out of sorts. Penelope was also admitted to hospital and put on a drip, which threw her feeds out. All of these factors combined have left us with a very stressed out and painfully windy newborn.
So, what do we do? Well firstly I’d get a Doctors appointment (we’re not medical professionals) and peace of mind is priceless, especially when it comes to bubba’s. However, if you’ve been there, done that and got the colicky kid t-shirt, cap and pin here’s our top ten (in no particular order) simple soothers:
Making sure you wind/burp the baby after every feed is vital. Even if they fall asleep while feeding! Don’t put them down without burping them first. Try the lazy lion. Simply place baby belly down across your left forearm, let their limbs flop down and gently tap their back with your right hand.
Try putting baby down so that their head is ever so slightly raised, this will helped to stop any ‘spitup’ and sooth any possible reflux. For us the best way we found to do this was by using an NHS approved Wedgehog pillow.
After spending so much time floating around in the womb, it’s not surprising that newborn babes have a natural affinity to water and water like sounds. Try running bubba a warm bath, with one hand support them firming and allow their body to relax and float to the surface, with the other hand cup water over their belly. Both the warmth of the water and the sound of your hand splashing will help to soothe and re-centre them.
With Theon for a three week period, the only way we could get him off to sleep was by turning on the oven extractor hood. For Penny it’s this Youtube video.
Colic feeds off stress; yours and baby’s. I know, I know the old saying ‘sleep when they sleep’ seems like the biggest load of croc. When do you clean, when they clean? But it’s absolutely true-this is survival! Trying to evade sleep is futile.
Oxytocin is your friend. If you breastfeed, take your time and find somewhere quiet and comfortable for the two of you to sit and nurse a good feed is as beneficial to mum as it is to baby. Skin to skin will have a similar affect on you and baby, the sound of your heart beat and breathing will help them to regulate their own.
The most common go to for colic is probably Infacol and it was always our go to. First recommended to us by the health visitor when we had Theon. However, the Doctor and Chemist both recently suggested we try Colief, with both suggesting that it’s much better, but because of its price (around £12.00) is no longer available on prescription and so not commonly suggested.
Because I exclusively breastfeed (my brains not fully functioning enough to get my head around bottles) it does tend to be a little fiddlier to administer than Infacol, but it kicks in a lot quicker and for a longer period of time.
Rotate legs up and down, in a circular motion (like their cycling)
Continue for 10 minutes
Repeat several times a day, daily
Speak to your health visitor or local health centre about baby massage. There are currently many free initiatives being run through out the UK. Baby will benefit from the session as well as you learning techniques to use at home. An easy one being the clockwise tummy rub. Where by you place the palm of your hand on to baby’s tummy and gently rub, in a clockwise, circular motion. This will help baby to both pass trapped wind and ease constipation. Be poonami ready!
If breastfed the key to feeding a colicky baby is not necessarily little and often but, fully and often. Don’t let baby get ‘hangry’ or thirsty and don’t allow yourself to become engorged. Let baby feed until they fall away from the nipple naturally. For bottle fed babies, don’t over feed or allow baby to become over stressed/cry extensively especially around meal time. Gas does not cause colic, but it does seem to be a symptom caused when babies swallow too much air when they both cry and feed.
If you are breastfeeding be mindful of how much fore milk and hind milk baby is getting. Fore milk although a great hydrator can cause babies to become very windy. Baby can often get too much foremilk due to stops and starts to feeding due to baby being colicky or from feeding often but not fully.
Tummy time doesn’t only help to strengthen baby’s neck and back, it will also help to offer some relief to their tummy by helping to work out any gas and contents within none moving bowels. Remember to make it both fun and relaxing for baby, but don’t over exert them! For newborns tummy time need only be minutes at a time, once a day.
I hope you and baby find some relief in at least one, if not a combination of the above. Just remember this too shall pass (little consolement when you’re in it, I know) and that you are doing your best to be intuitive to your baby and their needs. For further info on this topic visit the NHS website and don’t hesitate to call your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor to discus Colic, it’s affects and possible remedies. Remember what ever you do DON’T #keepmum !!!!!